Welcome to Racerhead, coming to you from the press box at High Point Raceway. It's Father's Day weekend, as well as round four of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. We finally have some good weather here for a change, and the place is filling up with motorhomes and campers just like it has for the past 42 years that it's been a standard on the AMA Pro Motocross schedule. For everyone at Racer X and MX Sports, it's our hometown race as well, so everyone has been pulling double-duty between the office and the race track—Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania, is just a few miles up Interstate 79 from Morgantown, West Virginia, where Racer X and MX Sports are located. We've made a lot of changes to the race track, putting in some of the old wooded and off-cambered sections, and based on the reactions from all of the riders who did press day—Red Bull KTM, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, and a couple dozen privateers—the changes are going over very well.
Tomorrow will be the first of three rounds of this series in which the second 450 Class moto airs live on NBC, and the 450 points leader, Team Honda HRC's Ken Roczen, will once again try to hold on to the red plates that he's been trading back and forth with Monster Energy Kawasaki's Eli Tomac, the defending 450 Class champion. Behind them is a swarm of fast guys, including Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin and Cooper Webb, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna's Zach Osborne and Jason Anderson, as well Monster Energy Factory Yamaha's Justin Barcia and Dean Ferris. All have done well here in the past before, so with the new track configuration, the great weather and hopefully a huge crowd, everyone is going to be motivated.
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And then there's the 250 Class, which is a little more complicated. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo has won all three overalls, but Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha's Justin Cooper has been right there with him throughout, winning the first moto in each of the three rounds. There was also Cianciarulo's off-track excursion and re-entry at Thunder Valley that the referee felt was not grounds for a penalty, but Cooper's team protested and sent an appeal through AMA Pro Racing. They in turn denied the appeal and so the results and points from Thunder Valley stand. To say Cooper is due for an overall win would be an understatement. As I wrote last week, I figure he will get his maiden pro win before the end of this month. Neither Adam nor Justin got to ride press day, so no idea how they will look after a week off, but I have a feeling these two are going to find one another tomorrow.
That's not to stat they are the only two with a strong shot to win. Cooper's teammates Dylan Ferrandis and Colt Nichols have both looked very fast at times, but they just haven't put it all together. Same can be said for GEICO Honda's Chase Sexton and RJ Hampshire, as well as JGR/Yoshimura Suzuki's Alex Martin. (And he gets a new teammate tomorrow in 31-year-old fill-in rider Kyle Chisholm, in the 450 Class, anyway.) All of these guys are looking to break out and stop AC's winning streak.
Finally, before I get back out there to help put the finishing touches on the track, Happy Father's Day to all of my fellow dads out there. I'm lucky enough to have had my son Vance out here helping out all week as part of the Racer X Varsity Mowing Squad (he's going to be a senior this fall) and my daughter Sloane has set up a Racer X Uber with a golf cart and she's hustling tips as she drives folks around the facility. It's take-your-kids-to-work weekend for all of us here, and I'm sure my own dad is smiling down from above as he watches his grandkids run around all weekend just like he saw my brother and sister and I doing for so many years. Happy Father's Day, all.
Sorry to cut this short, the 125 All Star LCQ just ended and that means time to get back out on the track crew. Wish us luck tomorrow, and we'll have a lot more next week.
PRO PERSPECTIVE (Jason Thomas)
When looking at a season, whether indoor or out, I always tried to compartmentalize. For the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship this year, for example, I would have cut the series into thirds. Every four rounds, I would analyze what was going well and not so well. More importantly, I would change up my practice tracks and soil.
With the first four rounds of Hangtown, Fox Raceway, Thunder Valley, and High Point, all of my practice would have been on hard-packed dirt. I would have found tracks with less than ideal traction and worked on suspension settings that agreed with choppy, hard bumps. I would focus all of my efforts on improving myself and my settings at those four rounds.
That fourth round of High Point will be tomorrow and end the first of my three compartmentalized "series within a series.” Hopefully, I would have the motorcycle dialed in concerning ECU, chassis, and also have my technique on point. Those focus points are subtly adjusted at each track but in the motos, High Point is hard packed and slippery, not so much different than Hangtown when it begins to dry. The experience of Hangtown would hopefully transfer in helpful ways to a positive day at High Point.
One of the unique aspects of High Point are the off-camber turns. This track forces rider onto the edge of the tire much more often than other tracks. Most tracks in America allow a rider to hammer the throttle once they make their pivot. High Point is more difficult as that pivot is usually on an angle, the camber falling away from the direction of the racetrack. Riders need to roll the throttle on, weight the outside footpeg, and approach the corner angles with a plan. Recklessly barreling into a corner and expecting to rip out of the apex wide open will most often result in either A) The rider low siding into the ground or B) The rider ending up at the very bottom of the racetrack from all of the unbridled enthusiasm. Tracks like High Point require a plan to go fast. They are laid out like a road race course. The fast line is outside to inside, carrying momentum and lessening the need for hard acceleration. I think that's why the Euro riders excel on this track. This off-camber, thought provoking layout is very common overseas. Going fast at High Point is the result of a well-executed plan, not hyper-aggressive riding.
Tomorrow, watch for the different line choices amongst the riders. Where are riders descending the hills? Are they swinging wide to open up the corner angles? Are the riders who look calm and smooth turning the lowest lap times? These are the subtle nuances that High Point presents. It's a different animal than other tracks. Aggression wins the day at many tracks but not always at High Point.
Man, bummed for Honda's Cole Seely as the PR went out today saying he's out for the rest of the summer. I had a heads up on the day it happened but didn't think it would be that serious. Of course, Cole's coming off a bad injury last year that he admitted left him thinking about it on the track as well as behind the eight ball with his 2019 season prep. An underwhelming (for him) 450SX season led to a tough start in motocross and now this. Gotta feel for Cole, he's a good dude whose contract is up at the end of this year. Riders in contract years don't need what he's had to deal with this season and you hope that he can get his shoulder ready as soon as possible to get a better start at 450SX if he wants to do it. I like Cole, he's not a robot out there amongst the riders and usually has something interesting to talk about or a good take on something going on in our sport.
Before the Seely news came out, the JGR Suzuki guys announced that Justin Hill will be out week to week with a shoulder injury and that Kyle Chisholm will fill in for him until Justin is ready to go. Seems to me this might be a multiple week injury otherwise why go to the effort to get Chiz to fill in? Kyle's a low maintenance guy for the team and he'll put in good results for them and cause no issues. Chiz is gonna Chiz, that's all there is to it.
I got sent a link from Vital MX message board this morning that Hill's dad Monte wasn't really stoked with what injured rider Weston Peick had to say on the PulpMX Show last week about Justin. I get it, parents are always going to have their son or daughter's back so for Monte to not agree with Peick's take that Hill needs to separate himself from his family a bit in order to get the best possible results but here's the thing. The history of the sport says that many times (more times than not) riders do need to become their own men in order to get their best results. The examples are too numerous to list and post racing, many riders tell me that they needed to have the tough conversations with their family. If I was Weston, I would just ask if Hill's dad thinks that Justin's last two seasons have gone well? That he's on track to get another factory ride or stay with JGR? Therefore, change is needed to the program and Peick was trying to help Justin with a psychologist and Pala showed that the work was, ahem, working at Pala when Justin did well. Then he just stopped going for some reason.
Anyways, hopefully Monte and Weston can talk it out and settle things down. What Peick said on the show was, to me anyways, 100 percent truthful and constructive.
Tough morning for the Matthes' household when we had to put our Bassett Hound Willy down. He had been struggling with eating, diabetes issues and went downhill fast the last day or so. Dogs rule (They do Weege) and although we've had a lot of dogs go through the house as we work with a rescue in town, it's never easy thing to do. RIP Willy, you milk-bone loving hound you.
HEADSCRATCHING HEADLINE OR??? (DC)
When we spotted this on TMZ.com, we didn't know whether it was celebrity motorcycle news or one of those Headscratching Headlines of the Week. So we'll let you decide:
"JUSTIN BIEBER How Do I Drew? ON A NEW MOTORCYCLE!!!"
"Justin Bieber might be going through a mid-20s crisis -- first, he's challenging Tom Cruiseto a fight out of the blue ... now he's gifting himself a fancy new crotch rocket. At least he's got a loving Instagram wife by his side. The Biebs got a brand new motorcycle delivered to his home Tuesday, wrapped in the brand name of his new Drew clothing line ... and Hailey snapped some quality pics of her hubby for the 'gram. The 2-wheeler also features his favorite number, 6 ... as if it's going to be entered in some sort of race." TMZ.com stated.
RACING WITH THE BOYS
Clayton, North Carolina's Jordan Jarvis is giving her first go-round at racing with the boys in Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross this weekend at High Point. She's earned her pro-am points and is entered in the 250 Class. You can see her aboard the number 301 Yamaha YZ250F. How will she fare?
JOHN CHOATE'S TICKET (DC)
Several years ago the folks next door at MX Sports started giving out big tickets to Regional qualifiers to "admit one" to Loretta Lynn's, we've watched as recipients celebrate qualifying by posting photos of themselves with their tickets on the Regional podiums or around their bikes and pit crews as they celebrate what is a very big accomplishment for most amateur motocross racers. But our friend John Choate, a vet rider in the southeast, may have taken the ticket-celebration game to a new level, kind of like when kids go all-out to ask someone to prom, or proud parents-to-be do those blue-or-pink gender reveal videos on their social media. John embraced his ticket to the 2019 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships by spoofing a bunch of funny other moments of ordinary life/recent pop culture moments, and we thought we'd share a few here in Racerhead... Can't wait to see John back at the ranch and on the starting gate again.
TRIPLE DOUBLE (Andras Hegyi)
It is a good time for Team Honda on both sides of the Atlantic. Both in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship and in the FIM Motocross World Championship, the premier class points leaders are Honda riders, and the red plates are on red bikes. In America, the German transplant Ken Roczen took the points lead back from Eli Tomac when he won the overall at Thunder Valley, while in MXGP the Slovenian rider Tim Gajser now leads. Last Sunday the two-time World Champion Gasjer got his third consecutive GP win, and for the third straight time it was double-moto wins. Coming back from a 40-point deficit to Antonio Cairoli, he became the new points leader in the MXGP last Sunday in Russia. It is the first time that Gajser has been able to become overall points leader in MXGP since the sixth round of the 2017 season, 42 GPs ago. By taking over the overall points lead Gajser put an end to KTM’s domination. Following that GP of Europe in 2017, only the factory KTM duo of Cairoli and the Dutchman Jeffrey Herlings were able to be the overall points leaders in MXGP.
Riders to win at least three double-moto wins in three consecutive Grand Prix in the MX1/MXGP era (since 2004)
Stefan Everts: Riding Yamaha, the 10-time Belgian world champion got 10 consecutive GP wins, and all 10 were double-moto wins in 2006.
Jeffrey Herlings: Last season KTM’s Jeffrey Herlings collected eight consecutive GP-wins, getting eight double moto wins.
Antonio Cairoli: The nine-time world champion from Italy secured six consecutive double-moto GP wins in 2012.
Tim Gajser: He's won the last three GPs in Portugal, France, and Russia with double-moto wins. This weekend he heads to Latvia to go for four.
Whether your dad got you into the sport or you brought it to him, make sure he’s the happiest guy in town this Father’s Day...with the gift of Racer X. Give pops his favorite magazine, get six free digital issues for yourself. Check out the deal we're offering right here.
We also spotted our friend Brett Smith of @wewentfast doing some cool dad-inspired Father's Day sales too, so after you get your Racer X subscription, check out what he's doing too.
We Went Fast is currently having a promo for all motocross enthusiasts to be able to give back to their dads. With Father’s Day next week, make sure to get your we Went Fast gear now. Visit www.wewentfast.com/shop and use the code "DADWASFAST” once you reach the cart page to save 15 percent off your entire order.
Dad deserves something original from you this year and We Went Fast has what he wants. Shop fast on Father’s Day. Get your gear today!
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Time is running out. Father’s Day is June 16. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Dad spent many Father’s Days under the hood of a 1979 Dodge Titan when it broke down at the races. Do him a favor. Send him a t-shirt this year. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Relive the fast with your pops this Father’s Day. Save 15% off your entire order at wewentfast.com/shop. Use coupon code DADWASFAST when you reach the cart page. Dad deserves something original from you this year and We Went Fast has what he wants. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ We Went Fast is an independently owned media brand focusing on dirt bike stories; it’s moto that matters. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Shop fast on Father’s Day. Direct link in bio.⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ #fathersday #rememberdad #fathersdaygifts #motocross #wewentfast
The August 2019 ISSUE OF RACER X MAGAZINE IS NOW AVAILABLE
The August 2019 issue of Racer X magazine is now out. Sign up now for the print and/or award-winning digital edition. And if you're already a digital subscriber head to digital.racerxonline.com to login. In this issue we check out how Lucas Oil Pro Motocross offers a second chance at titles for riders in both classes. No Fear MX exploded onto the motocross scene in the nineties, and we detail their rise and fall. Get to know new champions Chase Sexton and Dylan Ferrandis. For over 50 years, the Oxley family has made Costa Mesa Speedway America’s prime destination for speedway racing, and we find out why. All these features and much more inside the August issue. Print subscribers can also open up the issue and unfold a collectible poster of Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Adam Cianciarulo. Here are the feature articles you’ll find inside:
“Clean Start” by Davey Coombs
The opening rounds of the 2019 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship offered a second chance at a title for top riders in both classes.
“The King's New Clothes” by Steve Matthes
Jeremy McGrath, Travis Pastrana, and more spoke with us for this oral history of No Fear MX gear and how it came and went.
“Alternative Methods” by Jason Weigandt
When Austin Forkner and Adam Cianciarulo faltered at the end of supercross, Chase Sexton and Dylan Ferrandis took their star turns. Get to know two new champions.
“A Night At The Speedway” by Mike Emery
For over 50 years, the Oxley family has made Costa Mesa Speedway America’s prime destination for speedway racing.
"10 Minutes With... Ryan Villopoto" by Steve Matthes
Check in with Ryan Villopoto about his summer plans.
Moto trainers going head to head in 2 Tribes, Diamond Don’s Riverport International Vintage Motocross race in Texas, how to attack sweeping corners, proper hand-control lubrication, rules for starting-gate movement, and much more.
All this—and more—exclusively in the August 2019 Issue of Racer X magazine. Not a subscriber? Sign up now for the print and/or digital edition.
Hey, Watch It!
Recently, Troy Lee and some of his friends stopped by The Whiskey Throttle Show to for the “Troy Stories,” a collection of their favorite memories of the legend. If you know Troy, then you know he's involved in more shenanigans and pranks than anybody else in this sport, period.
Friends Scott Bell, Bill Keefe (his brother-in-law), Carly Lee (his daughter), Cam Zink, and Mitch Payton all joined us at the desk, with Troy joining Mitch during his turn, and we just couldn't stop laughing. Whether you grew up watching racing in the 1980s or you don't know who Mitch Payton is, you'll crack up hearing these stories.
LISTEN TO THIS
The Fly Racing Racer X Podcast comes in with former pro racer Dennis Stapleton joining host Steve Matthes to talk about his racing career, racing and teaching around the world, and more. Check it out.
Daniel Blair and Producer Joe bring in Episode #122 of the Main Event Moto Podcast as Blair and Producer Joe are joined in the bat cave by Hobo Nick. The original three Bat Bros are back to discuss everything except moto. Okay, well maybe some moto. Listen to Episode #121 of the Main Event Moto Podcast.
Head-Scratching Headline/s of the Week
“Passenger opens plane emergency exit, mistaking it for the toilet”—CNN
“Crowd beat up suspect in shooting of Red Sox legend David Ortiz before handing him to authorities, police say”—CNN
“Raptors in court battle with Monster Energy over logo”—Toronto Sun
“Denver Zoo shares the story of same-sex flamingo couple Lance Bass and Freddie Mercury”—CNN
“US defends itself after humiliating Thailand at Women's World Cup”—CNN
“Miami Bar Offered Free Shots for Every Alex Morgan, Team USA Goal in World Cup”—Bleacher Report
“Male student poses as girl to catch sexual predators, nabs police officer”—NBC News
"Valentino Rossi went to "forbidden" motocross track for "therapy""—Autosport
HIGH POINT NATIONAL RACER X ALL-DAY PIT PASSES | LIMITED QUANTITIES LEFT
Going to the High Point National this weekend? Want to be able to get into the pits all day?
The only way to cruise the pits whenever you’d like is with the Racer X All-Day Pit Pass, but quantities are limited! Get yours today while they’re still available and get all-day pit access plus a one-year subscription to Racer X Illustrated for $100*.
If you preorder online for this event, you’ll need to pick your Racer X Pit Pass up at Will Call, where you’ll also receive an extra copy of Racer X, the official event sticker, and Racer X stickers.
*Purchase of this Racer X Pit Pass includes a general admission ticket.
SUBSCRIBE AT HIGH POINT AND GET ALL 12 EVENT STICKERS
Are you headed to the High Point National this weekend? Make sure you stop by the Racer X booth, located in Sponsor Village, and subscribe for as low as $15 and receive ALL TWELVE Official 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Racer X event stickers. You will also receive a complimentary magazine and free Racer X stickers.
Be sure to check out our Racer X Brand items on display and grab some gear. See you at the races!
For the latest from Canada, check out DMX Frid’EH Update #24.
Thanks for reading Racerhead. See you at the races!